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[Q&A + Primer] Naya Midrange - MTG Standard

Discussion in 'Rate My Deck' started by Kamotz, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. Kamotz

    Kamotz God of Monsters

    Naya Midrange

    This is a Primer for a competitive Naya Midrange deck. But our first task is to define what "Midrange" actually is.

    Midrange can best be described as a strategy that seeks to play the best creatures and ride those creatures to victory. In general, the creatures in a Midrange deck will be "better" than those in an Aggro deck--bigger, more resilient, and with greater play-value--and more numerous than those in a Control deck.

    Naya Midrange takes advantage of the powerful creature cards made available in Green, White, and Red colors. It is a very well-situated deck in the current meta against a field of Aggro. The creature-value in Naya Midrange surpasses almost any other deck (contested only by Junk-GWB Reanimator), and the ability to re-use those creatures' "enter the battlefield" abilities is a strong point.

    As a competitive primer, this doesn't take into account budget or card restrictions. It suggests the best options of cards available.

    Here is a list of card options available to us followed by the decklist I am currently testing:


    Card Options:

    Planeswalkers:
    Planeswalkers are critical for a Midrange deck. They survive the vast majority of board wipes (apart from Planar Clensing and the mode-specific Merciless Eviction, the latter of which rarely gets played). In addition, most W/G/R Planeswalkers synergize very well with high creature-counts.
    Domri Rade
    The breakout Planeswalker from Gatecrash, Domri works wonders in a Naya build. When running high creature numbers (at least 24), you'll have about a 50% chance of drawing into a creature when you first use his ability (assuming a Turn-3 Domri, in which you likely have 50 cards left in your deck). His -2 Fight ability is excellent in conjunction with Naya's value creatures like Thragtusk, Boros Reckoner, Loxodon Smiter, and Thundermaw Hellkite. Finally, his Ultimate Emblem is downright backbreaking if you can make it. It turns even a 3/3 beast into a must-answer threat.

    Garruk Relentles // Garruk, the Veil-Cursed
    Both sides have their uses. The ability to continually pump out wolf tokens makes him a strong engine against Control decks that want to keep wiping your board. It either forces them to commit creatures to the board (in order to kill him), or 1-for-1 remove him with Detention Sphere (meaning they can't use Planar Cleansing later). Relentless is strong against Aggro--he can come in as early as Turn 3 and remove a threat, then make deathtouch tokens next turn to discourage attacking. Finally, Veil-Cursed's ability to search your library for a creature can sometimes give you the answers you need to win the game.

    Garruk, Primal Hunter
    "Big" Garruk works better in the Midrange mirror and against Control. His bigger tokens mean he'll be better-able to defend himself. His -3 ability is also extremely significant in the Control and Midrange matchups. You'll usually be drawing at least 3 cards, and many times upwards of 5. This ability also synergizes well with Kessig Wolf Run, which allows for even more cards. Card advantage is king. Finally, his ultimate, if not answered, is a game-ending threat.

    Ajani, Caller of the Pride
    While a solid 3-drop, he's unable to defend himself without relying on other creatures. He's suited to more aggressive builds that capitalize on playing more creatures the first few turns rather than setting up the mid-game.

    Chandra, the Firebrand
    Chandra does best in a spell-heavy build where you can really abuse her -2 ability. Otherwise her +1 is underwhelming, and Naya doesn't usually have enough instants and sorceries to make her worth running.

    Creatures: Creatures are the bread and butter of the Naya deck, and Midrange decks in general. Naya runs some of the highest value creatures in Standard, combining resiliency and value with cost-effectiveness and aggression.
    Avacyn's Pilgrim
    The premier 1-drop. Pilgrim ramps you into a Turn 2 Loxodon Smiter, Boros Reckoner, and Domri Rade; a Turn 3 Huntmaster of the Fells; and a Turn 4 (sometimes Turn 3) Thragtusk.

    Arbor Elf
    Allows more mana-interaction with Stomping Grounds and Temple Gardens, allowing a more diverse mana-base. The downside is that, unlike Avacyn's Pilgrim, you need a Forest in play for the Elf to do any work. This forces you to play more basic Forests and decreases your ability to play a Turn 2 or 3 Boros Reckoner.

    Centaur Healer
    A 3/3 for {3} is already good. The ability to play it T2 is even better. Gaining you 3 life is fantastic against a slew of Aggro decks. Synergy with Restoration Angel makes this excellent.

    Loxodon Smiter
    If Centaur Healer was good value for its cost, Loxodon Smiter is even better. The X/4 body means he dodges most burn spells in the format. And played on Turn 2 he's bigger than most Aggro decks can comfortably attack into without broadcasting a combat trick. He trades with or survives an encounter with Boros Reckoner. He also shores-up your Control matchups by being uncounterable and a 4-power threat. And finally, he makes anyone playing Liliana of the Veil worry about forcing you to discard.

    Boros Reckoner
    Gatecrash's breakout card, Boros Reckoner is a house. First and foremost, he makes the Aggro decks' attacks less profitable, and he can 2-for-1 them in the early game. Furthermore, he synergizes extremely well with Domri Rade's -2 ability. Fighting Boros Reckoner is powerful, as it can allow you to take out 2 of their creatures.

    Rhox Faithmender
    Rhox makes all your life-gain that much better. Following Faithmender with a Thragtusk is often more than an Aggro deck can handle. His Lifelink is also significant with both Kessig Wolf Run and Slayers' Stronghold, as he can net you upwards of 6 life per turn. Unfortunately, with all the other valuable 4-drops in the deck, there's very little room for him.

    Huntmaster of the Fells // Ravager of the Fells
    Huntmaster is a powerful card. Left un-answered it can quickly take over a game. It's strong against Aggro by the merit of gaining you two life and creating two bodies. If they allow it to transform, it begins picking away at their life, their creatures, and becomes a threat with Trample. Against Control, it's creates a must-answer threat and allows you to avoid over-extending.

    Restoration Angel
    The 4-drop powerhouse. 4 toughness means it survives the majority of burn spells and trades with, kills, or survives with almost every other creature the Aggro decks throw at it. It saves one of your creatures from targeted removal, reuses their enter-the-battlefield (ETB) triggers, and it has Flash. Doesn't get much better than that.

    Thragtusk
    The power and resiliency behind Naya. Thragtusk has both defined and altered the Standard metagame since charging onto the scene. He survives removal, protects you against Aggro, and presents a powerful threat. He's the premier 5-drop in this deck, and an absolute 4-of.

    Sigarda, Host of Herons
    Sigarda is a powerful card, protecting you from edict (sacrifice) effects like Tribute to Hunter, Devour Flesh, Barter in Blood, and Liliana of the Veil's -2 ability. Short of a board-wipe (or combat), there's no way to remove her. Against aggressive decks, however, she doesn't have enough immediate board-impact.

    Thundermaw Hellkite
    Absurdly powerful and aggressive, Thundermaw coming down almost guarantees a 5-point life-hit. It kills non-anthemed Lingering Souls tokens and forces your opponent to sacrifice a creature to Falkenrath Aristocrat or let it die. In conjunction with Restoration Angel, you can re-use its ETB ability.

    Aurelia, the Warleader
    The new 6-drop, Aurelia is a bomb, no doubt about that. In addition to providing a second attack step for double the damage, she can also serve as pseudo-vigilance, by untapping all your creatures and giving you the option of not using your second attack step.

    Armada Wurm
    Once the premier 6-drop for Naya, the shifting speed of the format means it doesn't quite give enough value, despite its token-making ETB and synergy with Restoration Angel. It's simply outclassed by Aurelia. Still, it's a card to consider.

    Gisela, Blade of Goldnight
    A creature that has recently come into some resurgence--most notably in Melissa DeTora's red-splashing "Wolf Run Bant" deck. Gisela is a powerful way to top off your curve in the Control match and the Midrange mirror. She makes your attack steps much more powerful, but her high cost is rather prohibitive.

    Angel of Serenity
    Angel of Serenity is your other option for the 7-drop spot, competing with Gisela. Her higher toughness and ability to either clear your opponent's field or pull creatures back from your graveyard makes her extremely powerful, especially in the mirror match.

    Instants and Sorceries: Removal is limited in Naya. Unlike Jund, we're less flexible and don't have access to hard "kill" spells like Abrupt Decay, Tragic Slip, Dreadbore, or Ultimate Price.
    Pillar of Flame
    Pillar's sorcery-speed is offset by its ability to neuter the graveyard recurrence of things like Gravecrawler and Geralf's Messenger. At 1 mana it's also a strong early-game (Turn 1 or 2) removal spell for cards like Champion of the Parish, Experiment 1, Ash Zealot, Huntmaster of the Fells, or Thalia. It's use is determined primarily by the popularity of RB or RG zombie decks.

    Searing Spear
    Instant speed removal is critical in Naya. Spear's 3 damage is one of the best in the format. It can also hit the opponent and enemy Planeswalkers. A definite auto-include 2 or 3-of.

    Mizzium Mortars
    Mortars compliments Searing Spear very well, dealing greater damage though with the limits of only hitting creatures at sorcery speed. It makes up for this, however, with its late-game use: wiping the opponent's (or opponents') board of anything with less than 5 toughness. This versatility makes it a valuable tool in the Naya arsenal.

    Farseek
    Farseek is what makes Midrange decks work. It ramps and fixes your mana. With shocklands available, a single Turn 2 Farseek can set you up for a Turn 3 Huntmaster, Garruk Relentless, or even a Thundermaw Hellkite and Thragtusk (with 2 Avacyn's Pilgrim).

    Selesnya Charm
    The versatility of Selesnya Charm is what makes it so powerful. Creating an instant-speed Turn-two 2/2 isn't terrible, and it can force a trade against Aggro decks. There's also the ability to exile a 5+ power creature (which you can force with Kessig Wolf Run), or push through that last bit of damage necessary to kill an opponent or their Planeswalker. Unfortunately, Naya requires a higher creature-count than many other decks, and prefers more dedicated removal. However, with the rising prevalence of Junk Reanimator and other Midrange strategies Selesnya Charm might very well begin seeing more play.

    Boros Charm
    Boros Charm is one of the new Gatecrash tool that Naya gets to play with, and all its modes are useful to us, especially in the Control matchup, where any sort of board-wipe resiliency and extra damage is needed. It doesn't quite warrant main-deck spots right now, but it's a fantastic sideboard card.

    Sundering Growth and Ray of Revelation
    Both of these are solid answers to enchantments, with Ray limited to just enchantments (but useable with flashback) and Growth giving you a populate chance and additional hate against artifacts.

    Bonfire of the Damned
    The (once) all-powerful Bonfire doesn't see as much play anymore, despite the prevalence of Aggro decks, in large part due to the presence of Frontline Medic. In addition, because it has less of it, Naya has to be more proactive with its removal than a deck like Jund, which often times runs up to 4x Bonfires between the main and sideboards.

    Aurelia's Fury
    Fury is a solid option against the Control decks, allowing you to force damage through and prevent them from casting spells, or drawing out a counter they might have otherwise used on a creature spell. It's over-costed against Aggro and Midrange decks, however.

    Enchantments and Artifacts: Naya runs few Enchantments, and even fewer artifacts.
    Oblivion Ring
    O-ring is catch-all removal for opposing creatures, Planeswalkers, enchantments, and artifacts. That kind of versatility makes it extremely powerful.

    Rest in Peace
    RIP is powerful against any deck that abuses the graveyard, especially decks like UWR Control/Flash and Esper Control, as well as any deck that recurs their creatures from the Graveyard. Use caution playing against Junk Reanimator, as they can operate as a Midrange deck if they see this in play.

    Witchbane Orb
    A fantastic sideboard card. It protects you from a huge onslaught of cards: Rakdos's Return, Slaughter Games, Nephalia Drownyard, Devour Flesh, Tribute to Hunter, Liliana of the Veil, and all player-targeting mill and burn (which also protects your Planeswalkers from burn).

    Assemble the Legion
    This card is absolutely insane against the right matchup and demands a quick answer or it will grow out of an opponent's ability to deal with. It's essentially a Planeswalker that can't be attacked, and the only answer most decks have to it is Detention Sphere or Oblivion Ring.

    Utility Lands:
    Cavern of Souls
    A solid card against the Control decks, and also useful for fixing mana to play Boros Reckoner.

    http://magiccards.info/isd/en/243.html]Kessig Wolf Run[/url]
    Arguably the most powerful Utility Land in standard, Wolf Run lets you power through even the most dead-locked of game states, and turns even a 2/2 wolf into a serious threat while increasing the card draw from Garruk Wildspeaker.

    Gavony Township
    In a meta filled with board wipes and fast aggro, this land is less useful, though it still can find a home in Naya.

    Slayers' Stronghold
    {3} for Vigilance, haste, and +2/0 means your late-game 3 and 4-drops can attack right away for increased damage while also leaving you with blockers for your opponent's counterattack.


    Sample Decklists:
    Land (23)
    2x Cavern of Souls
    1x Clifftop Retreat
    1x Forest
    2x Kessig Wolf Run
    1x Mountain
    1x Plains
    2x Rootbound Crag
    2x Sacred Foundry
    1x Slayers' Stronghold
    4x Stomping Ground
    2x Sunpetal Grove
    4x Temple Garden

    Creature (24)
    2x Aurelia, the Warleader
    4x Avacyn's Pilgrim
    4x Boros Reckoner
    4x Huntmaster of the Fells
    4x Restoration Angel
    4x Thragtusk
    2x Thundermaw Hellkite

    Sorcery (6)
    4x Farseek
    2x Mizzium Mortars

    Planeswalker (4)
    2x Domri Rade
    2x Garruk Relentless

    Instant (3)
    3x Searing Spear

    Sideboard (15)
    2x Angel of Serenity
    2x Boros Charm
    2x Garruk, Primal Hunter
    3x Loxodon Smiter
    2x Oblivion Ring
    2x Rest in Peace
    2x Witchbane Orb


    Please offer opinions/feedback and post your own decklists along with with how testing has been going. I will update the initial post with your feedback, and can list your deck under the sample decklists if you want.
     
  2. the3rdH0kage

    the3rdH0kage Turn my Swag on!

    You think Cloudshift would work?
     
  3. Kamotz

    Kamotz God of Monsters

    Not really. If you don't have a creature out, Cloudshift doesn't do enough//anything. Then there's the question if what you'd take out for Cloudshift's inclusion.
     
  4. the3rdH0kage

    the3rdH0kage Turn my Swag on!

    I guess. I made a Naya Midrange deck. I'll be posting list on TP in a few if you wanna see it.
     
  5. Kamotz

    Kamotz God of Monsters

    Sure. I'm always looking for Naya variants.
     
  6. the3rdH0kage

    the3rdH0kage Turn my Swag on!

    I'm going to my LGS for a while today so I can test I'll put them in the tournament reports thread or something.
     

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